“Our nation was founded on Christian Principles!” is a rallying cry of conservatives across America; It also happens to be patently false. This column is probably going to upset a lot of people who consider themselves to be strong believers in the teachings of Jesus Christ – Mostly because it is going to make them feel like the proverbial sheep who have strayed too far from the flock. Objectivity and religion do not often go hand-in-hand, but my hope is that the believers among you can dust off those seldom-used critical thinking skills and read this from a place of love.
I am by no means a biblical scholar, but I have read the Bible, as well as several other books of faith. I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic elementary school (Go St. Barts!) and received two undergraduate degrees from a Catholic University. (Go Dukes!) I’m a former choir boy, I attended my share of CCD classes: I speak from a place of some wisdom. The reason Christianity is singled out in this column is because there is a war being waged against it as we speak (Come on America – “Holiday” trees? “Spring” eggs and bunnies? WHERE DOES IT END?) and also because it is the predominant belief in America at this time.
Here’s my soundbyte/quote for the headlines:
“If you cite your religious beliefs as a reason to hate, harm, or refuse to help somebody else – Your religion, and your beliefs, are complete garbage.” – Sean Kemmerer
The cases heard before the Supreme Court this week have brought personal moral and religious beliefs back to the forefront of political discussion. As I wrote earlier this week – This is NOT about religion, or the ignorant position of what a “biblical” marriage is. Marriage is a legal contract, regardless of where you get married or what you believe:
This isn’t even about equal rights, it’s about the basic philosophies of what we as a “Christian Nation” are supposed to believe. Want a refresher?
Love Thy Neighbor
And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31) Remember this the next time you think your “neighbor” doesn’t deserve the same rights as you because he loves somebody that you don’t approve of, or believes in a God that you don’t. Even if your neighbor is a dirty Muslim, or a communist, or an “illegal” they should be loved. Jesus didn’t seem to have an issue with that – Should you? Can you make a compelling argument against same-sex marriage without citing your personal faith or beliefs? I didn’t think so.
Heal the Sick
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23) Jesus liked to take care of sick people – It was kind of his thing. Remember when you were young, and there were hospitals that were still run by nuns? You’d break your arm playing football and the nuns would just fix it without tens of thousands of dollars of bills and red tape? Christians USED to believe that taking care of sick people was a GOOD thing. Try to remember that the next time you hear about your Congressman trying to repeal “Obamacare” and denying medical care from literally MILLIONS of your neighbors. (who by the way, you are supposed to love.)
Help the Needy
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
Anyone think we should drug screen people getting government assistance? Upset that poor people get food stamps? Want to cut funding for the tired, sick, and hungry among us? You think that’s Christ-Like? How are your reading comprehension skills? Better yet – Who do you vote for to represent your “Christian” views? Instead of trying to HELP a single mom who is depressed and struggling and who might have turned to drugs to cope – we cut her off? Take away ANY chance of her recovering? Becoming productive again? Feeding her kids? Is that what Jesus would do? “I’ll feed the masses… right after they pee into thy cup.”
It’s not really rocket science – Religion is supposed to exist as a guide to help us all be better people. Any time you are complaining about “your tax dollars” going to help somebody less fortunate, what are you really saying? Do you complain as loudly when “your tax dollars” are used to wage wars and kill people? What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if someday, it was you who was sick, or poor, or needy? What if you were denied the same rights that your neighbor had?
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)
Turns out if you actually follow what Christianity says, it’s not so bad after all.
–Sean Kemmerer is a freelance writer, administrator of Politics Without The Crazy Pills , and knows that in the words of a great poet of his father’s generation: Jesus is just all right with me.
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